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2015 RIDE WITH THE CHAMPS
by Modine HotDawg Garage Heaters
to be held Saturday, February 7, 2015.

Congratulations to our new Inductees!

 
 2014 Inductees:  
   
DON OMDAHL
DATE OF INDUCTION: February 15, 2014  
CAREER SPAN: 1970 - 1976  
BRANDS REPRESENTED: Polaris
AGE AT INDUCTION: 62

As Team Polaris racer during the dawn of factory SnoPro competition, Don Omdahl leveraged athleticism and tactical savvy to become one of the top drivers during the first heyday of snowmobile oval racing.

Fresh out of high school in 1970, Omdahl landed a spot on the mighty Polaris factory team with Bob Eastman, Larry Rugland and Jim Bernat. Small, light and strong, Omdahl concentrated his expertise in the 250 and 340cc classes, where he found success at racetracks throughout the Sno Pro circuit. He captured wins at Eagle River, West Yellowstone and Beausejour. He scored a rare trio of class wins in Syracuse, NY, as well as a World Series title in Weedsport, NY. Omdahl's natural talent proved successful in the rare occasions when he competed in cross-country, winning the Rhinelander Hodag event and posting several fast days in Winnipeg to St. Paul I-500.

Some of Omdahl's strongest and most memorable feats came just shy of the big win. He led the 1975 Eagle River World Championship final for 10 laps before succumbing to teammate Bernat and finishing second. And a remarkable 440X final in Alexandria, Minn., saw Omdahl go from first to nearly last after his throttle cable came unhooked. Undeterred, he remounted and charged back to finish fourth in a performance that thrilled a stadium filled with fans. After injuring his neck, Omdahl was forced to retire from competition in 1976.

 
TED NIELSEN
DATE OF INDUCTION: February 15, 2014
CAREER SPAN: 1967 - Present
BRANDS REPRESENTED: Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo, Yamaha
AGE AT INDUCTION: 75

A pioneering snowmobile and motorsports dealer, strategic businessman and one of the sport's most decorated independent race team owners, Ted Nielsen of Lake Villa, Ill., forged a remarkable career that set industry benchmarks for success while spanning more than four decades.

After falling in love with the emerging sport of snowmobiling in 1967, Nielsen launched his franchise as an Arctic Cat dealership in a converted gas station in 1969. In the decades that followed, he added product lines and product categories, growing his family business into an award-winning dealership that garnered International Dealer of the Year as well as multiple state awards. Nielsen co-launched the successful Lakewood Sportswear brand of snowmobile outerwear in 1982, the first aftermarket brand of clothing targeted to the snowmobile industry. He was among a small group of individuals that financed the successful launch of Arctco prior to the company's public offering, which brought back the Arctic Cat brand in 1983. Today the Nielsen Enterprises dealership sells all four snowmobile brands as well as six ATV, five motorcycle, three personal watercraft and two boat brands.

Many of Nielsen's most recognizable achievements occurred in the competitive arena of snowmobile racing. As team owner, Ted partnered with some of the sports greatest drivers: Jeff and Greg Goodwin, Brad Hulings, Bobby Donahue, Chuck and Allen Decker, Dale Loritz and Mike Campbell. His drivers and teams won at nearly every venue in North America, one of the most satisfying being the hard-fought victory at the 24 Hours of Eagle River in 1996. Nielsen's greatest racing accomplishment was winning the World Championship in 1984 with Jim Dimmerman piloting the Nielsen Enterprises Phantom to victory, a historic achievement for an independent race team that was not factory sponsored.


 
LOREN R. ANDERSON
DATE OF INDUCTION: February 15, 2014
CAREER SPAN: 1965 - Present
BRANDS REPRESENTED: All Brands
AGE AT INDUCTION: 72

With a singular, unwavering passion to honor the magnificent people who comprise the sport of snowmobile racing, Loren Anderson turned the idea of a Snowmobile Hall of Fame into a glorious reality. Undaunted by significant challenges along the way, Anderson cultivated his many local and industry connections, scraped together the necessary funding and poured his heart into every aspect of launching the SHOF in 1982, the first Ride in 1984 and the first museum in 1988 and settling into its current location in St. Germain, Wis., in 2008.

Like many of snowmobiling's "greatest generation", Anderson entered the sport during its first wave of popularity in the mid-1960s. He founded the first snowmobile club in Williams Bay, Wis., and helped create the first snowmobile trail in the Bay. Anderson's love of snowmobiling expanded when he began competing in grass drag and oval competition. In 1972 he campaigned Ski-Doo Blizzards, which evolved into brand alliance that would span more than two decades and include roles as racer, team owner and communications manager for parent company Bombardier. Later, while working for the Governor of Wisconsin, Anderson was instrumental in averting negative legislation against snowmobile recreation on the nation's public lands. He was a president of the Chamber of Commerce in Minocqua, Wis., where he was a tireless promoter of winter recreation. International Snowmobile Racing named Anderson "Outstanding Contributor to the Sport of Snowmobiling" in 1998.

Of the many gifts Anderson has given to the snowmobile industry, the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain, Wis., remains his greatest, most lasting contribution. Intent to preserve historical artifacts and memorialize the sport's great men and women, Anderson was the primary force that grew the SHOF and Ride With the Champs event into the world-class experiences we enjoy today. Not even the diagnosis of cancer in 1996 could deter the sometime controversial, strong-willed and passionate man from realizing his dream of honoring the sport's heroes.

 
THOMAS RAGER SR.
DATE OF INDUCTION: February 15, 2014
CAREER SPAN: 1985 - 2012
BRANDS REPRESENTED: Ski-Doo, Polaris
AGE AT INDUCTION: 63

Starting as a regional oval racer in 1978 and then transitioning into increasingly prominent roles within the snowmobile industry, Tom Rager Sr. grew two profoundly successful race programs while exerting a lasting influence on the entire sport of snowmobile competition. His comprehensive, long-term approach as Race Manager for the Ski-Doo and Polaris race programs cultivated emerging talents who would become some of the most successful and decorated racers of the past two decades.

Rager's career with Ski-Doo began in 1978 as an oval racer from Nebraska competing in regional events before starting his own dealership. In 1985 he moved to northern Wisconsin, to be a district sales manager. He soon transitioned his skills to become Ski-Doo race coordinator, then North America Race Manager in 1988. There Rager combined a strategic vision with tactical acumen to retool a race program that had been primarily concentrated on Formula I twin-track oval machines into one that was stock sled-based and focused on all forms of racing. Within a handful of years, Rager's efforts innumerable class wins and championships for Ski-Doo in all forms of racing, including drag, cross-country, snocross, hillclimb and oval.

For his second great act, Rager accepted the challenged to rebuild the Polaris race program beginning in 2000. Once again, Rager surrounded himself with excellent colleagues, and then hired key proven racers to achieve immediate success while simultaneously nurturing young and emerging talents. By the time Rager retired in 2012 Polaris had returned as a winning powerhouse in all venues and at every level, from Novice to Pro classes.

PAST INDUCTEES:
Click on Inductee's name to view bio and photo.
 

2013 Inductees -
Norman Ball III, Bob Bracey, Blair Morgan, John Zeglin

2012 Inductees -
Larry Bosacki, Marcel Fontaine, Toni Haikonen, Joey Hallstrom

2011 Inductees -
Takehiko Hasegawa, Phil Mickelson, Diane Miller, Wayne Nicholsen

2010 Inductees -
Jim Dimmerman, Ray Monsrud, Clyde Seely, Keith Vreeland


2009 Inductees -
Donald Finck, Paul Groth, Mike Houle, Kenneth Konop


2008 Inductees -
Andy Baker
, Clayton Neuman, C.J. Ramstad, Christopher Twomey

2007 Inductees -
Robert J. Carlson, Richard "Dick" Gokey, Kirk Hibbert, Mark Maki
 
2006 Inductees -
Earlan B. Campbell, Darcy Ewing, Coley Findlay, Frans Rosenquist

2005 Inductees -
Myron Herrick, Ted Otto, Dave Wahl, Durmont Wahl
 


2004 Inductees -
Gene Bloom, Vernon J. Leduc, Jack Struthers, Ole Tweet


2003 Inductees -
Jim Herzig
, Joyce "Suzie" Scholwin, Jim Musselman, John Wicht III

2002 Inductees -
Adena Cook, Herb Yancey, Marv Jorgenson, Gordy Muetz
 

2001 - Guy Useldinger, Perry Schlueter, Jim Jolliffe

2000 - Claude Desrosiers, Jerry Korinek, Brian Nelson

1999 - Tim Bender, Brad Hulings, David Johnson

1998 - Brian Musselman, Jim Wergin, Roger Skime

1997 - Dale Cormican, Bobby Donahue, Olav Aaen

1996 - Jerry Bunke, Doug Hayes, David Karpik

1995 - Dan Kirts, Larry Coltom, Jim Beilke

 

1994 - Tom Earhart, Gerard Karpik, A.H. "Sparky" Meyer

1993 - Dorothy Mercer, Ed Schubitzke, Loren Filter

1992 - Duane Frandsen, Leroy Lindblad, John Alward

1991 - Jim Bernat, Charlie Lofton, Carl Eliason

1990 - Edgar Hetteen, Duane Eck, Larry Rugland

1989 - Joseph Armond Bombardier, Audrey Decker, Steve Thorsen

1988 - Jim Adema, Steve Ave, Yvon duHamel, Bob Eastman, Bob Elsner, Stan Hayes, Roger Janssen, Mike Trapp, Dave Thompson, Gilles Villeneuve

       
NOMINATION PROCESS
 

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